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Advanced methods of monitoring for species of conservation concern

Date: April 14, 2015

RMRS scientists and partners break new ground in broad-scale monitoring of species of conservation concern


Background

Effective broad-scale, multi-resource monitoring is essential to provide detailed and specific information on resource condition and trend to guide adaptive management. However, traditional monitoring protocols are often ineffective, prohibitively expensive, or both.

Scientists with the Rocky Mountain Research Station and their collaborators have made great contributions to the development and application of broad-scale, representative, multi-resource monitoring protocols. They have played a key role in developing and improving sampling methodology, survey design, and analysis of non-invasively collected genetic data.

Management Implications

The project has contributed greatly to development of non-invasive multi-taxa sampling approaches, genetic-based measures of population size and connectivity, and analytical frameworks for integrating monitoring data on multiple resources. Oucomes also include methods to predict current and future conditions under alternative management and climate change scenarios. These methodologies represent a true revolution in monitoring that will allow population monitoring for a small fraction of the cost of previously available protocols.

The project has led to substantial advances in methodological, analytical, and conceptual approaches to efficient and effective multiple resource monitoring. This will benefit society by providing broad-scale, cost effective approaches to monitor the distribution, abundance, and connectivity of populations of rare and cryptic species of conservation concern. 

The research team has also made major contributions to forest vegetation monitoring. For example, they are leading a large interagency effort to incorporate direct microclimatic monitoring on permanent vegetation plots, and to link the resulting data with statistical models to produce maps of expected vegetation composition and structure at a fine spatial scale across broad geographical extents.

This collection of projects have resulted in numerous publications, invited presentations, and workshops.

Figures of A) simplified land cover map for a portion of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, B) digital elevation model, and C) modelled resistance to movement for American black bear (from Cushman et al. 2006).
Figures of A) simplified land cover map for a portion of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, B) digital elevation model, and C) modelled resistance to movement for American black bear (from Cushman et al. 2006).

Featured Publications

Schwartz, Michael K. ; Luikart, Gordon ; McKelvey, Kevin S. ; Cushman, Samuel A. , 2010
Cushman, Samuel A. ; Landguth, Erin L. ; Flather, Curtis H. , 2010
McKelvey, Kevin S. ; Cushman, Samuel A. ; Schwartz, Michael K. , 2009
Cushman, Samuel A. ; McKelvey, Kevin S. ; Flather, Curtis H. ; McGarigal, Kevin , 2008
Cushman, Samuel A. ; McKelvey, Kevin S. ; Hayden, Jim ; Schwartz, Michael K. , 2006


Principal Investigators: 
Forest Service Partners: 
Rocky Mountain Research Station Interior West - Forest Inventory and Analysis Program
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Northern Region
External Partners: 
Michael Lucid, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Lacy Robinson, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
University of Washington
University of Montana
Northern Arizona University
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Kalispell Tribe
Confederated Tribes.